Covid spreads among Switzerland’s youth as vaccination impact becomes clearer

The weekly report released by Swiss health authorities on Thursday shows that the number of cases has dropped slightly but there have been more Covid-related deaths. Infections are now far more common among younger people.

Covid spreads among Switzerland's youth as vaccination impact becomes clearer
More Covid-related hospitlisations have been reported in the past week. Photo by Fabrioce Coffrini / AFP

During the week of March 29th to April 4th, 12,284 laboratory-confirmed cases were reported, against 12,555 the previous week, according to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

This represents 2.2 percent fewer infections than the week before, with the current incidence of 142.1 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Of the 8,016 samples analysed, 96 percent were identified as one of the mutations of the virus, predominantly the British variant.  

As the colour-coordinated map below shows, by far the most cases  (817,37 /100,000) were found in Uri.

It is important to note that the increase in the number of detected cases over the past month may be due at least partly to more frequent and widespread testing.

The proportion of tests carried out during this period rose by 8.7 percent.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about Switzerland’s free coronavirus tests for every resident

Regarding the age groups, young people between 10 and 29 years were the most affected.

However, those over 70 were the least impacted, possibly thanks to increasing rates of vaccination among the elderly, FOPH said.

More hospital stays and deaths

Last week, 373 people were hospitalised due to Covid, against 329 the previous week. The number of Covid-19 patients admitted to intensive care (171) remained stable.

There has been an increase, from 48 to 60, in the coronavirus-related deaths. Zurich recorded the most deaths (12), followed by the cantons of Vaud and Aargau (8).

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


What to know about changes to free Covid testing in Switzerland

From January 2023, people in Switzerland will generally have to pay for Covid-19 tests. Here's a look at the changes.

What to know about changes to free Covid testing in Switzerland

What’s happening?

The Swiss Parliament says that from January 1st 2023, the costs of Covid-19 tests will no longer be paid for by the government. 

It means that anyone who wants a Covid test will have to pay for it themselves. 

However, Covid-19 tests ordered by a doctor will be met by health insurance costs “provided the test is required to determine any further medical action,” the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) said in a statement.

“Such costs will also, however, be subject to the insurance’s deductible and copayment provisions,” said the FOPH. The test result has no influence on the reimbursement.

Why are the rules changing?

Since the early days of the pandemic, the Swiss government has been covering the cost of Covid tests – at least most of the time.

But testing is expensive – the government spent 2.1 billion francs on tests in 2021, and 1.6 billion this year up to the start of December.

“The continuation of reimbursement for tests that benefit public health would have cost around CHF 100 million in the 1st quarter of 2023, according to estimates by the FOPH, based on a 20 to 30 percent higher test volume than in the past weeks,” the FOPH says.

However, keeping tests free of charge could also lead to additional costs in other areas – such as a potentially greater burden on doctors’ practices and hospitals, the FOPH said.

What’s the reaction?

For infection specialist Jan Fehr, the end of free testing is happening at a bad time.

At the moment, it is difficult to keep track of which respiratory tract infections are having a significant burden on the health system with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza and Covid all circulating at the same time, he told Swiss broadcaster SRF.

“Charging for corona tests from January will lead to even fewer people getting tested and is currently incomprehensible from an epidemiological point of view,” said Fehr.

Santésuisse, the industry association of Swiss health insurers, urged the state to take over the costs of tests again if the Covid situation worsens in future. 

What else should I know?

According to the FOPH, Covid tests are possible in the same facilities as before, such as doctors’ surgeries, pharmacies, hospitals, retirement and nursing homes, as well as in test centres.

Despite tests not being free of charge unless a doctor has ordered them, vaccinations against Covid-19 will continue to be free for people in Switzerland in 2023.